When you are working on increasing your financial well-being, here are habits you can put in place to set yourself up for success. Grab your stacked up bills and financial paperwork, and let’s get started!
Clean Your Desk
First, choose a spot in your home where you’re going to be working with your money. Make it someplace beautiful. You want it to be a spot you want to be in, so you can focus on the financial work. It should be a sunny corner of your home, or a cool table that found its forever home with you. Choose a comfortable seat. Add items that will bring feelings of gratitude and positivity to the space.
Next, you’ll want to setup a system for how you’re going to keep your records. For example, when you receive bills that to pay, you want to have a bin, file folder, or binder where they always go. Make sure the system you choose accommodates all the documents you might receive. If you expect having to store tax documents, you’ll want to have a spot for those. Or statements from your credit card or loan companies.
Set Some Goals
These goals need to be juicy. They need to be good. They need to be exciting. They need to be the sort of thing that if you needed to make a trade, “Hey, Margarita’s or your goal?”, you’re going to want to pick your goal. That’s what getting a handle on your money is about.
It’s about making intentional choices. You must have a good, juicy goal to make those choices. One of the biggest problems that people have with money is setting boring goals. These are goals like, “I want $10,000 in my bank account.” Great. But that’s a goal for the conscious part of your brain.
Your subconscious brain is the one that is calling the shots. That’s the part that makes all the choices. Your subconscious brain doesn’t get it. It’s too abstract. You have to have something tangible that you’re working toward. Instead say, “I want a new kitchen.” or “I want a wonderful vacation.”
Once you know what you’re working towards, this is where the real work begins. When it comes to your financial well-being, it’s not like you’re going to set it up one time and be done with it. It’s something that you’re going to work to learn every day. Here are the habits you need to develop throughout the year.
Daily to Every Other Day
You want to check your bank balances. Set time aside to log-in and see how everything is going. That’s it. Checking your bank balance helps to maintain clarity. You’re going to understand what’s coming and going. You are going to start to see the rhythms of your money, the ebb and the flow.
Most of us avoid checking our bank balances. A lot of my clients are either compulsively checking several times a day or avoiding looking at all. Neither will help you maintain clarity. A quick check-in at the end of the day allows you to make small adjustments before there’s a problem.
This is to say, “Oh my goodness, I forgot this was going to come out. I should not be spending any more money this week.” Or “Well, okay great. We’re doing great.” And every time you’re doing great, you want to congratulate yourself. You want to get to a point where checking your bank balance is like pouring yourself a cup of coffee. There’s no emotional attachment to it. And if there are emotions, you want them to be positive.
If you’re building up your savings account, congratulate yourself for that. Tell yourself it’s safe for you to have money, especially if that’s something new for you. Always keep in mind when you’re doing something brand new. Really celebrate any progress. It anchors in that feeling and helps to make the progress more long lasting.
Weekly to Biweekly
Whenever you get your paycheck, you want three different types of savings. You want to put aside money for the future. This is going to be your retirement money. Also, you want to prepare for both disaster and opportunity. You want to look and project what money you might need. Ask yourself, “What am I going to need money for the rest of this year? This is the Working Capital account I teach about in The Invisible System. This is the money that you’re going to use to be prepared.
Once Working Capital is funded, you want to save for opportunities. Is there a house you know would make a great investment property? You’ll have money for it. Did the stock market just crash? Great. Take advantage of that opportunity. This is next level.
Finally, you have to have money set aside for pleasure. This goes back to the goals we talked about you setting earlier. You have to have big juicy goals that bring you joy. It’s really important for those to be part of your regular financial plan.
Pay your bills and celebrate. You want to celebrate the money that’s been going into savings. If there’s an increase in your 401k, you want to celebrate that. If you put money into your HSA, you want to celebrate that. You want to start to associate money with really good feelings. This allows you to practice the feelings of abundance.
This is a mindset trick, but it really matters. No matter how small the success, you need to celebrate your progress. This celebration anchors in that good feeling. Then, you start to associate money with good feelings. You will make very different financial decisions from a place of fear, scarcity, worry and anxiety than you will from a place of gratitude, abundance, joy, happiness, progress and celebration.
Tracking your net worth and check on your goals. If you thought you were going to have $10,000 saved by the end of the year, check to make sure you have $2,500 at the end of Quarter 1. If you do, that’s awesome. Great work! If not, start to make any changed that need to occur now.
You want to check your net worth because it provides you with the bigger picture. Oftentimes, we get so into the details of our money that we miss the forest through the trees. Here’s an example. I’ve had clients create all sorts of fake wins for themselves by rearranging their money. They’ll take out a loan to pay off their credit cards. They’ll move money in their 401k to payoff a loan.
Rearranging the money is a common tactic, but it only confuses the situation. Your net worth is black and white. Ask yourself, what’s your net worth? Is it going up? Is it going down? You should be seeing your liabilities go down and your assets go up.
Review your goals and your progress.
Ask yourself, “What are my goals for next year?” Do you want to be building? What do you want your money to be doing for you? You want to constantly be growing with your finances. Earning more. You want to be able to spend, save, invest. Paying down debt. You want to check-in on yourself annually and you really want to celebrate that progress. Whatever progress you’ve made. And if there are lessons to learn and something didn’t work, you want to understand why.
Take the lessons and celebrate all the successes. Sometimes you will get off track, but it’s just a matter of getting back on track. Know as you set up your financial systems that sometimes they’re going to need to be tweaked and adjusted. There will be times where you’re able to save the money that you should be saving in your Working Capital. And there’s going to be times where you’re not going to be able to, and that’s not a failure. It’s just adaptability. So keep that in mind.
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